Germany / Landmark

Aachener Hauptbahnhof (Aachen Central Station)




​​On the one hand, the Aachen Central Station was the last German stop for many people fleeing from National Socialist persecution. On the other hand, the station was used for the deportations of persecuted people, as well as for general war logistics, like many other train stations.

​​The deportations of Aachen's Jewish residents began with their forced relocation from their homes and apartments to collection camps. One of these camps was located on Grüner Weg. From there, the Jewish victims were driven under SS and police supervision to the nearest tram stop.

They were then taken to Aachen Central Station with special trains. There, the deportation trains, made up of goods wagons, were already waiting for them. Often, the trains first went to Düsseldorf, where trains from various places were assembled into a large transport. Everything was organised, including the transportation costs. According to the third-class tariff, the victims were charged 4 Reichspfennige per person and kilometre. Usually the trains, which consisted of up to 45 goods wagons, were occupied by 1,000 people.

By the end of the war, 2,000 to 3,000 people were crammed into the goods wagons. Four people per square metre. Without adequate nutrition, without toilets. The journeys took days: how the people in the wagons coped is hard to imagine. During World War Two, all Jewish citizens of Aachen who had not fled to safety beforehand were deported. A total of seven transports left from Aachen to concentration and extermination camps. The deportations in Aachen started in March 1942 and ended in September 1944.

In October 1944 the central station was heavily fought over during the liberation. The 1st and 30th American infantry divisions had taken the heights south and west of Aachen, leading to an attack on Aachen. After intense fighting that resulted in partial destruction of the train station, on 21 October 1944 the military conflict in Aachen ended. Following this, the central station was quickly rebuilt as it was the needed by the Allies for logistical reasons.

Bahnhofplatz 1, 52064 Aachen